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Judge challenged in Scythian Gold case

The Scythian Gold collection of over 2,000 items was put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine, but after the peninsula reunited with Russia in March 2014, uncertainty arose as both Russia and Ukraine claimed the exhibits

THE HAGUE, July 8. /TASS/. A judge in the Scythian Gold case has been challenged again, Communications Officer for the Amsterdam Court of Appeal Melissa Zijlstra told TASS on Wednesday.

"At this moment the date of the judgment of the Crimean Treasures case is unknown as one of the judges has been challenged again. The date of this hearing (the challenge) is going to be determined later and will be handled by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal instead of the Hague Court of Appeal," she said without specifying which of the three judges had been challenged and by which party.

Last year, Ukraine made a motion to recuse judge D.Oranje, pointing out that he had represented Russia’s Promneftstroy company in the Yukos case and worked with lawyers Marielle Koppenol-Laforce and Rob Meijer who represented Crimea’s museums in the Scythian Gold case. The Hague Court of Appeal rejected Ukraine’s motion on November 1, 2019. According to the court, when challenging the judge, the party needed to list specific actions and circumstances, while the fact of his involvement in the Yukos case as a lawyer was not enough.

Scythian gold issue

The Scythian Gold collection of over 2,000 items was put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. However, after the peninsula reunited with Russia in March 2014, uncertainty over the collection arose as both Russia and Ukraine claimed the exhibits. In this regard, the University of Amsterdam suspended the handover until either the dispute is legally resolved or the parties come to terms.

The Central Museum of Tavrida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Preserve, the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Preserve and the Chersonesus Historical and Cultural Preserve are among the museums whose items remain in Amsterdam. Items provided for the exhibition by a Kiev museum were returned to Ukraine in September 2016.

In December 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that the Scythian gold treasures be returned to Ukraine. Crimea’s museums filed an appeal against the decision. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal later postponed a verdict in the case, emphasizing the need for the parties to provide additional information, particularly on property rights.